With some 40 million men, women and children trapped in slavery globally, we are now living in a world in which more people are trapped and traded than were bought and sold during the entire Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Of these enslaved millions, one quarter are kids.
No country is immune to what Pope Francis calls a crime against humanity. In Australia there are currently an estimated 4,300 people in slavery – cases of slavery on Australian farms or in forced marriage are even seen in mainstream media. However, our major exposure to slavery for most of us relates to what we buy. From what we wear to what we eat, many of our commonplace purchases are tainted by slavery, an umbrella term which includes forced labour and human trafficking.
The problem can sometimes feel overwhelming. But there is reason to be hopeful – we can all contribute to ending slavery. Catholic schools have a central role to play.
The Anti-Slavery Taskforce in Sydney has been working with Sydney Catholic Schools on anti-slavery strategies for buying goods and services as well as for educational initiatives. We are now working with Catholic Schools NSW to support others to come on board.
One thing you can do now:
On 8 February 2018, join Pope Francis and Catholics the world over to commemorate St Bakhita’s Day, the patron saint for victims of slavery. Some schools will be having a mass at their parish church, while others will observe the event through prayer and other activities in their school.
Please direct enquiries to Katherine Moloney, Director of Research and Executive Officer, Anti-Slavery Taskforce, at firstname.lastname@example.org